Having lived in the Bryan-College Station, TX community for over 30 years we have seen a lot of changes. No one area has changed more for the better than downtown Bryan, Texas. When we first moved to Brazos County the population of Bryan Texas was nearly twice that of College Station's 17-18,000. The downtown Bryan area, once a robust and bustling town had become only a shell of what it once was and was in serious decay.
Founded in 1821 Bryan grew quickly once the railroad passed through town. By the 1860’s Bryan had even replaced Boonville, Texas as the county seat and shortly thereafter the city incorporated as symbols of the city government began to spring up. In 1876 in what is now College Station, Texas the the Agriculture and Mechanical College was built that would later become Texas A&M University.
Growth was still taking place in the city of Bryan but by the late 1990’s the City of College Station surpassed the population of Bryan and is now nearly 50% more populous thus contributing to the decline of downtown Bryan. Like many towns in the 1980’s and 1990’s the term “revitalization” was catching on and the city of Bryan was trying to figure out how to revitalize Bryan.
Revitalization was moving very, very slowly until the late 1990’s as it was about this time that a fellow named Zane Anderson. came onto the scene. Zane Anderson was a Bryan real estate person who had the foresight and vision to undertake the enormous risky venture of buying and redeveloping Bryan downtown area properties. Much of downtown Bryan resembled more of a ghost town than a vibrant area but Zane took the risk and bought some of the dilapidated downtown properties.
I am sure the Bryan city government will take credit for the amazing amount of revitalization that has taken place over the last 15 years in downtown Bryan but in my opinion it was Zane Anderson who was the catalyst and “Father of Change” that downtown Bryan sorely needed. Without his vision the speed at which the revitalization of downtown has occurred would have slowed considerably.
We love strolling through the newly redeveloped downtown area. What was once an area of boarded up business and terrible streets has become such a beautiful area with a new found energy as a younger population has embraced the changes in downtown Bryan. Businesses have popped up everywhere and the old boarded up buildings are nearly gone. We enjoyed visiting a few of the new spots in town, such as the Proudest Monkey Bar, and look forward to revisiting downtown Bryan in our future travels to see what exciting changes are still to come…